Monday, January 29, 2007
Baptists and Beer
The Journey, a Missouri church that started with 30 members less than five years ago and now has 1,300 members, is taking heat from Southern Baptists because one outreach method of the church involves holding discussion groups at a St. Louis area brewpub.
The Journey bills itself as an interdenominational church, but it has links to the Missouri Baptist Convention. The Baptists are upset because beer flows during the Theology at the Bottleworks monthly meetings. The Rev. Darrin Patrick, founder of The Journey, said the sessions are used to discuss everything from racism to embryonic stem cell research -- and to invite new people to attend Sunday church services.
The Southern Baptist Convention says the use of alcohol is against church practice. At the 2006 annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention the group passed a resolution backing its traditional stance against the making, sale or consumption of alcohol. The Journey is housed in a former Catholic Church the group purchased and renovated in 2005 with the help of a $200,000 loan from the Baptist organization. The Missouri Baptist Convention says it would not have backed the loan had it known about the brewpub meetings.